McDaniels: Several reasons for Lloyd's lack of production

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McDaniels: Several reasons for Lloyd's lack of production

Brandon Lloyd was targeted once on Sunday in Miami. He made a 10-yard catch along the left sideline, diving out of bounds and keeping his lower body in bounds to make sure it was a completion.

It moved the Patriots down to Miami's 18-yard line in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, and gave them a first down on a drive that ended up being the difference-maker in Sunday's win over the Dolphins.

So, while it was only one catch, it was a big one.

Still, only one target -- and that target not coming until late in the fourth -- will raise eyebrows. But Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels tried to explain the situation in a conference call on Monday, defending Lloyd and calling his production against Miami a function of what the defense was giving them.

"I think that's really a function of a lot of things," said McDaniels, when asked about Lloyd. "Brandon certainly played hard and has played hard all year. There's been games where we've targeted him a lot. And then there's been other games where, based on the way somebody may play us, we target him less, and the ball goes somewhere else.

"So I think Brandon should just keep doing his job, and trying to execute his assignments well. We've never been a team that likes to force the ball to one person or another, although it may seem like that at times, because certain players get targeted more in certain games, but really, the biggest emphasis point we try to make to our group, is to try to find the guy who's open, or who the defense doesn't take away and give them the football. And Tom usually does a good job of that. Yesterday, Lloyd certainly didn't have a lot of action in the passing game, but hopefully that will change, or could change based on the way we get defended.

"He's done a good job of running good routes and getting open, and being available when his opportunities present themselves," added McDaniels. "And he'll continue to do that that, I know him. And hopefully we call things that give him an opportunity to get the ball. When that's really when we should go with it, hopefully Tom finds him, and we connect."

Young getting on floor more for Celtics, including key fourth-quarter stints

Young getting on floor more for Celtics, including key fourth-quarter stints

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – For most of his life, basketball has come easy to James Young.
 
So, the idea that in training camp he wasn’t just fighting to get playing time but also to stay in the NBA, was a jarring eye-opener.
 
To Young’s credit, he rose to the challenge and beat out R.J. Hunter for the Celtics' final roster spot.
 
And while Young’s playing time has been sporadic, he has done a much better job of maximizing his opportunities.
 
So, as the Celtics roll into Detroit to face the Pistons, Young finds himself playing his best basketball as a pro, good enough to make coach Brad Stevens not hesitate to put him in the game in the fourth quarter of a close matchup.
 
“It’s exciting to come back home,” Young, who grew up in nearby Rochester Hills, Mich., told CSNNE.com. “A lot of my family will be there. I’m not thinking about me. I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team.”
 
And lately, he’s getting an opportunity to do just that beyond being someone who helps in practice.
 
We saw that in the 107-97 loss at Toronto on Friday. Young came off the bench to play four minutes, 36 seconds in the fourth quarter with only two other Celtics reserves, Marcus Smart (8:39) and Jonas Jerebko (5:10) seeing more action down the stretch.
 
“It means a lot,” Young said. “He’s starting to trust me a little bit more. That’s a good thing. I’m just trying to do little things; rebound, get defensive stops and score when I get a chance.”
 
The fact that his scoring is just starting to take shape helps shed some light on why he has been buried so deep on the Celtics bench.
 
For his first couple seasons, Young seemed a hesitant shooter physically overwhelmed by opponents too strong for him to defend as well as too physical for him to limit their effectiveness.
 
But this season, he has done a better job at holding his own as a defender while making himself an available scoring option who can play off his teammates.
 
Young is averaging just 2.9 points per game this season, but he’s shooting a career-high 48.9 percent from the field and 41.7 percent on 3’s, which is also a career-high.
 
Getting on the floor more often has in many ways provided yet another boost of confidence to Young.
 
“I’m getting used to the flow of the game playing more consistently,” Young said. “I know what to do. It’s slowing up a little more and it’s getting easier.”
 

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Three weeks removed from his team blowing a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu offered a possible explanation for the Atlanta Falcons losing their edge against the Patriots.

Lady Gaga.

More specifically, it was the half-hour-plus halftime show that interrupted the Falcons' rhythm, the receiver said Friday on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Sanu was asked if the delay was something you can simulate in practice. 

"It's really the energy [you can't duplicate]," he said. "I don't know if you can simulate something like that. That was my first time experiencing something like that."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did simulate it. In his Super Bowl practices, he had his team take long breaks in the middle.

Sanu also addressed the Falcons' pass-first play-calling that didn't eat up clock while the Patriots came back.

"The thought [that they weren't running the ball more] crossed your mind, but as a player, you're going to do what the coach [Dan Quinn] wants you to do." Sanu said. "He's called plays like that all the time."